First, I’d like to congratulate the businesses on G Ave on their new parking spaces. Three months ago, I spoke with an owner of a downtown business where the business owner cited parking as the most pressing issue among the downtown small business community.

In follow up to that conversation, I talked to more businesses to hear their concerns and it became clear that the majority of our downtown businesses felt that there was a lack of parking in the area including handicap parking spaces. To address our small business community’s concerns, the city has moved forward with a plan to change downtown parking to diagonal parking which will create more parking spaces. This wouldn’t have been possible without our small businesses and constituents speaking on these issues. Although that’s not my ward, I’m glad to have helped and spearhead this movement to help our struggling small businesses in any way possible.

We are working on multiple fronts to help strengthen our small businesses. We are all looking forward to the G Avenue revitalization street scape changes coming this year. Final design will be coming for council approval and then we’ll out for bids. Starting in March we’ll be having monthly workshops on topics of interest for our entrepreneurs and business owners, at no cost. These will range from things like using social media to market your business to what are the public safety regulations required by cities, with information on inspections and programs like backflow prevention. Additionally, we have begun our listening tours through our Goodwill Strike Team visits twice a month with the director of the small business development, Cochise College, city officials and our school superintendent. This team learns more about our businesses and their owners and what is working or what needs they have and how we can improve our partnership, resource connection and services to them.

Working on other economic vitality needs, we and our state and county partners are in talks with investors and manufacturing, housing developers and larger businesses to bring new business attraction as well as expansion of some of the larger national entities already here. This will produce more job opportunities for our community and beyond. It is an exciting time in the growth on the brink here in Douglas and our planning area. This has been a focus of our strategic plan for FY19-20 and I believe the Council and Administration will continue building on our message and efforts to ensure we move into ever stronger sustainability financially.

In addition to my update, I would also like to remind everyone that Census Day is April 1, 2020. The Douglas community lost out in approximately $12 million dollars per year in shared revenues due to being undercounted in 2010. It is important that we all spread awareness and participate in the Census so that our tax dollars are invested in our community. The funds we receive from the census count could give us better roads, better education programs, more funding for Section 8 housing and much, much more. Your participation is critical. Registering to be counted online is simple and convenient. We will have computers available at the library, community churches and locations around the city. For information, please contact Xenia Gonzalez at (520) 417-7388.

If there’s any other concerns/questions from business owners around the city or from constituents, you’re invited to attend my town hall February 6th from 5-7pm at 1190 E 18th street inside the Coronado Courts office building. We will be discussing our commercial port of entry progress, the budget, census, and also allow for open conversation on subjects not advertised. I hope to see you there, whether you’re from Ward 6 or not. Douglas is our community, let’s work together!

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